As if the rigours of yesterday’s stage were not already enough to make the riders jelly legged, Stage 12 sends the peloton over an assortment of brutal climbs, including Col de la Madeleine, Col de la Croix de Fer and culminating atop the legendary Alpe d’Huez.With friction already apparent amongst the general classification contenders, those with eyes upon the yellow jersey will need to begin their foray into action to stand a chance of glory. Totalling 175.km from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d’Huez, the grupetto will be hoping for an easier life than yesterday, one which saw the likes of Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish miss the time cut.
Chris Froome finds himself in a strong position ahead of a decisive stage finish atop Alpe d’Huez, teammate Geraint Thomas currently in yellow and allowing Froome to sit on the wheel of his rivals as the responsibility falls to them in order to ignite the battle. With a great record upon the final climb itself, Froome knows he shall be able to make an impact upon the general classification if the chance appears.
Romain Bardet hesitated yesterday and thus saw Chris Froome vanish up the road ahead of him, particularly frustrating given the condition he is currently in. Though the finale does not suit him perfectly, as an overall stage, Bardet should find several chances to turn the screw upon his rivals and see if any cracks appear.
Nairo Quintana is another who possesses an encouraging record upon Alpe d’Huez, though has never quite been able to muster the ability to go all the way and take victory. If interested in kicking off his campaign upon the yellow jersey, then the feeling is that today is a good stage to do so.
Pierre Rolland is ever interested in taking the scalps of the biggest climbs of his native grand tour and is the man most likely to win Stage 12 ahead of the general classification riders. The Frenchman appears to be enjoying better form these days and will know that seeing such strength go to waste would be a travesty.
1st Chris Froome 2nd Romain Bardet 3rd Nairo Quintana